A Mama-Sitter is a friend, family member, or postpartum doula who comes to simply be with the mother and her new baby.
There are times when a mother is so physically and emotionally sore and tender that the thought of being left alone with her baby is frightening or overwhelming. This can happen immediately postpartum or it can come on later when her partner has returned to work, or the grandparents have all gone home, and friends have gone back to their own lives. A mother can find herself struggling with the most basic aspects of life -feeding her baby and herself. Or the transition from her previous life, full of the hustle and bustle of the outside world, to the quiet, insular life with a newborn. Or maybe she has older children who also need a tremendous amount of care and attention and between the baby and the toddlers, she if feeling stretched super thin.
There is a lot amount of research about the affects stress has on health; the affects maternal stress has on babies’ development, and the affects stress has on breastfeeding and bonding. And from my personal experience, I can say that I am much more kind and loving with my children and my husband when I am not stressed.
How mothers feel is important.
With new moms having a the loving and caring presence of another adult in the house can make a huge impact on her well being. Sometimes just having someone come over for a block of time is just what she is needing. The Mama-Sitter may do the dishes or read a book to an older child, or maybe she will just sit and drink tea with the mother. It may be that the mother can barely get out of bed and her needs are very much on a practical level.
This can be something that is planned on ahead of time and included in the postpartum plan. It can be noted on the calendar that when the partner goes back to work, a good friend or postpartum doula will be coming from noon until 4pm. Or maybe there is another friend who agrees ahead of time to be on call for the first few months, ready to come by.
This all is not to say that mothers don’t enjoy sweet days nestled in at home with their babies. It’s when being alone becomes stressful that the Mama-Sitter must be called on.
I would love to hear who you had with you those first days and weeks and what about their presence was so helpful.